Sep 14, 2011

Gospel in the Stars VI

Libra - The Suffering Redeemer

Seiss wrote:

"There would seem to be little or nothing to arrest our attention or to illuminate our faith in a matter so ordinary and unpoetical as a at pair of balances for weighing commodities. A more homely, secular, and every-day figure would be hard to find, but a more expressive one, or one more profoundly significant of the weightiest truths that concern the hopes of man, would be still harder to select when considered in the relations in which we here find this figure. The arms of that tilting beam, with its attached bowls, reach out into eternities (horizontal line - SG). The positions of that beam, which a feather's weight may change, indicate the fortunes of worlds, the destinies of ages, the estates of immortality. The equipoise (balance - SG) of that beam marks the adjustment of a vast and mighty feud and the effectual bridging over of a chasm as deep as hell.

And the whole instrument together, in use, bespeaks the eternal justice which presides over all the boundless universe (similar to the "all seeing eye" watching over all- SG). In the Persian sphere a man or woman lifts these scales in one hand, and grasps a lamb with the other, the lamb being the form of the ancient weight. Nor can we be mistaken when we here read the divine determination of the wages of sin and the price of redemption.

The figure of the Scales, or Balances, is found in all the Eastern and most ancient Zodiacs, the down side invariably toward the deadly Scorpion. In some instances the bowl on the low side was held by the Scorpion's claws, whence, in some of the Western spheres, Chela, the Claws, occasionally occupied the place of the Scales. Among the Jews it was denoted by the last letter of the Hebrew alphabet, T, or Tau, originally written as we still write it, and as written in nearly all the ancient alphabets, in the form of a cross, which signified the end, the boundary, the limit, the completion; as the Saviour when about to give up the ghost on the cross said, "It is finished," the last letter in the history of His humiliation having been reached."

Job said:

"Let me be weighed in an even balance that God may know (determine) mine integrity( worth)." (31: 6)

"Oh that my grief were throughly weighed, and my calamity laid in the balances together!" (Job 6: 2)

What did Job mean when he expressed a desire to be "weighed in an even balance"? Surely no one thinks he wanted his physical body to be weighed. Job is using what we call a "metaphor." He, like all the ancients, likened being "judged" to being "weighed." When judgments are made, then something has been weighed by the mind, and a decision has been made. God is the judge of the universe, of all creatures, angels and men, and as such, he weighs, determines worth and value, and he judges and decides. And, Christ is God, and he is judge. The Father, said Jesus, "has committed all judgment to the Son," that is, he has committed the scales to him.

Job speaks of an "even balance," where things were "in balance," at peace, stable, and when things are "reconciled."

Libra, according to today's astrologers, is the sign dealing with partnership, and therefore of unions, particularly marriage. There is no doubt some truth in this as it applies to Christ and his mystical body, or to the church, as we shall see.

Solomon wrote:

"A just weight and balance are the LORD's: all the weights of the bag are his work." (Prov. 16: 11)

An "even balance" would also be a "just balance," one that is fair and honest, and gives a true and accurate judgment of worth. These qualities and characteristics belong to God as supreme "judge of all." (Heb. 12: 23) He "weighs" all men and things. He determines each's worth, and its "due," its destiny. Isaiah asks all this important question:

"Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, and meted out heaven with the span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance?" (Isa. 40: 12)

Here again the figure of the balance and scales is connected with the work of God as Creator and Judge. Daniel announced Jehovah's judgment upon the king of Babylon -

"Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting." (Dan. 5: 27)

Here clearly Lord God is shown as the one who has the scales and balances, the one who weighs human decision and behavior. He determines guilt or innocence. He decides the kind and length of punishment. To be "found wanting," means to be found "deficient," or "insufficient," to be lacking, to not measure up. We will see how all this is told in the names of the leading stars on the two scales.

"Talk no more so exceeding proudly; let not arrogancy come out of your mouth: for the LORD is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed." (I Sam. 2: 3)

"All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes; but the LORD weigheth the spirits." (Prov. 16: 2)

God "weighs" the "actions" of his creatures. He "weighs" the "spirits" of each. Simply, he judges.

Seiss said:

"The names of this sign indicate the range of meaning attaching to it. In Hebrew it is Mozanaim, the scales, weighing, as where God is said to weigh the mountains in scales and the hills in a balance. In Arabic, it is Al Zubena, purchase, redemption, gain. In Coptic, Lambadia, station or house of propitiation. In the Arab tongue, Lam is graciousness, and badia is branch—the atoning grace of the Branch. In Greek it is called Zugos, the cross-bar by which two oxen or horses draw, the yoke, pulling against each other, thwarts joining the opposite sides of a ship, the crossstrap of a sandal, the balance-beam in weighing. The name of the first star in Libra is Zuben al Genubi, the price deficient. Other names are: Zuben al Shemali, the price which covers; Al Gubi, heaped up high; Zuben Akrabi, the price of the conflict."

"All this clearly settles, as near as may be, that this sign of the Zodiac has reference to some great divine adjudications and adjustments relating to defaults, defects, and accusations, involving penalties, prices, payments. And with these ideas applied to the continuation of the story of the Seed of the woman, the divine Son of the Virgin, promised and appointed to lift up the fallen, recover from the Serpent's power, and bring men to the pasturages on the heavenly hillsides, we are at once brought face to face with eternal justice weighing the demerits and awards of sin on the one hand, and the price of redemption rendered and paid for it on the other."

"In the place of the woman and her Seed we have here a pair of balances suspended in the sky, in which is signalled to us the inexorable justice of the Almighty, in which the deficiency and condemnation on the part of man, and the all-sufficiency of the ransom paid on the part of his Redeemer, are alike indicated. One of the scales is up, which says to universal man, "Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting." The name of the star which marks it records the verdict-"The price deficient" But the other side is borne down, and with it the star named - "The price that covers" Of what that accepted price was to consist is more fully told in the accompanying Decans."

The Southern Cross

"Strikingly enough, we here come upon a figure stationed in the darkest section of the heavens, in the very lowest part of the sphere, and outlined by the stars themselves so as to be readily recognized by every beholder—a figure of the shameful instrument on which the blessed Saviour died, even the Cross. Our latitude is too far to the northward for this constellation to be visible to us, but it is clear, distinct, and specially noticeable to those dwelling near or south of the equator."

"Formerly this constellation was visible in our latitudes; but in the gradual shifting of the heavens it has long since sunk away to the southward. It was last seen in the horizon of Jerusalem about the time that Christ was crucified. It consists of four bright stars placed in the form of a cross, and is by far the most conspicuous star-group in the southern heavens. Standing directly in the path of the second Decan of Virgo, the doublenatured Seed of the woman, and connecting with Libra and the price of redemption, it takes the same place in the celestial symbology which the Cross of Calvary holds in the Christian system."

"Ever since Christ Jesus "suffered for our sins" the cross has been a sacred and most significant emblem to all Christian believers. Paul would glory in nothing but "in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ." It was a sacred symbol long before Christ was born. We find it in the most sacred connections, edifices, feasts, and signs of the ancient Egyptians, Persians, Assyrians, Hindoos, Chinese, Kamtschatkans, Mexicans, Peruvians, Scandinavians, Gauls, and Celts. The mystic Tau, the wonder-working caduceus, the invincible arrows, the holy cakes, all had their fabled virtues in connection with the form of the cross which they bore. But that sign has received a far more definite and certain consecration by the death of Christ upon it. Its original ancient meaning had reference to the Seed of the woman, the divine Son who was to suffer on it, to conquer by it, and to give eternal life' through it. We cannot adequately account for it except as belonging to the original prophecy and revelation concerning Him and the price He was to pay for our redemption, conquering through suffering, and giving life through death. And in all the ideas connected with it by the ancient peoples we can readily trace the application of it, the same as in the arrangement of the constellations.

Aben Ezra gives its Hebrew name, Adorn, which means cutting off, as the angel told Daniel of the cutting off'of the Messiah. And Christ was cut off by being condemned and crucified.

In the Zodiac of Dendera this constellation is marked by the figure of a lion, with his head turned backward, and his tongue hanging out of his mouth as if in consuming thirst. It is the same idea. Christ is "the Lion of the tribe of Judah," and one of the few expressions made by Him as he died on the cross was that of His consuming thirst. Strong and divine as He was, His life was there parched out of Him. "Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst; and they filled a sponge with vinegar and put it upon hyssop, and put it to his mouth. When, therefore, he had received the vinegar he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost." The hieroglyphic name attached means pouring water; and David, impersonating the Messiah, exclaims, "I am poured out like water, all my bones are out of joint; my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels. My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou hast brought me into the dust of death" (Ps. 22 : 13-18). It is simply wonderful how the facts in the sign correspond with the showings of the Scriptures, and how all the old myths embody the same showings.

In the triad of the three great Egyptian gods each holds the sacred Tau, or the cross, as the symbol of life and immortality; but only the second, the Son, the Conqueror and Deliverer, extends the cross, thus pictorially expressing the offering of life and immortality through the Cross.

In the divine triad of Brahmanic deities the second, the Son, the One who became incarnate in the man-god Krishna, sits upon his throne cross-legged, holding the cross in his right hand; and he is the god of deliverance from dangers and serpents. The same is otherwise represented as the ruler of the elements, the stiller of tempests, the good genius in all earthly affairs. But in all these relations and offices he always wears a cross on his breast. It is the same story of deliverance and salvation through the Cross-bearer, the divine Son of the Virgin. And even so "it pleased the Father that in Christ should all fulness dwell, and, making peace through the blood of His cross, by Him to reconcile all things."

The old Egyptians pictured departed spirits as birds with human heads, indicating the laying off of the earthly form and the putting on of immortality. But all such figures are represented holding the cross, emblematic not only of eternal life, but of that life as in, with, or through the Cross, just as the Gospel teaches."

"And in every aspect in which the figure of this Decan, in its deeper inward significance, appears in the records and remains of antiquity, it connects with deliverance, life, and salvation by means of it. Accordingly, it stands among the starry symbols of the ancient astronomy precisely as it stands in our blessed Christianity. It was placed there as the sign of what holy prophecy had declared should come, just as we reverence it as the sign of what has come in Jesus of Nazareth, the Virgin-born Redeemer of the world. It is the Cross of Calvary prefigured on the sky in token of the price at which our redemption was to be bought."

The Victim Slain

"The next in the series of these heavenly signs gives us a still fuller and clearer indication of the nature and payment of that price. Christ was not only "crucified," but He was also "dead and buried." Hence we have in the second Decan of Libra a slain victim, pierced and slain with a dart barbed in the form of the cross—pierced and slain by Centaur himself."

"But an important element in the mysterious transaction was, that He sacrificed himself. Men in their wickedness killed Him, but it was He who gave himself into their hands to do it. Without this voluntariness and self-command in the matter the great redeeming virtue of His sacrifice would be wanting. Hence He was particular to say as He went to the cross, "I lay down my life for the sheep...No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again" (John 10 : 15-18)...This was partially prefigured by the Cross in Centaur's path, but more particularly in this Decan, which shows the death infliction by the barbed dart from His own hand."

"What this victim of Centaur is, is not very definitely determined. Many of our modern atlases give it as a wolf, but with no ancient authority for it. The Greeks and Latins sometimes called it the wolf; but they were so much in doubt that they more commonly called it the animal, the victim, without describing it. Ulugh Beigh says it was anciently called Sura, a sheep or lamb. The Arabs use a word in connection with it which means to be slain, destroyed; hence the slain one, the victim. It plainly expresses slaying, sacrifice by death; and so would fall in with that saying of the Apocalypse, that Christ is "the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world."

In some of the Coptic and Egyptian representations this victim is a naked youth, a stripped and unresisting young man, with his finger on his mouth. This youth is Horus, the beloved son of Osiris and the virgin, the One to come, who appears in various relations under different names, all more or less connected with the bringing of life and blessedness through humiliation and death. In Phoenician this youth is called Harpocrates, under which name he became known to the Greeks and Romans. Harpocrates means justice, or the victim of justice, the vindication of the majesty of law. Among the Romans, Harpocrates was the god of silence, quiet submission, and acquiescence. All of this connects with this Decan as a sign of the promised One, and prefigured Him as quietly and meekly submitting as a victim and sacrifice to justice and the law, even as Christ did actually lay down His life and submit himself as our propitiation. "As a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so He opened not His mouth."

In some of the pictures of this youth he is represented with the horn of a goat on one side of his head, as well as with his finger on his lips. This again connects him with sacrificewilling, silent sacrifice. In some other pictures this horn is detached and held in his hand, filled with fruits and flowers—the original of the cornucopia, or horn of plenty; thus signifying that all good to man comes through that meek submission to stripping and sacrifice to satisfy the requirements of eternal righteousness.

So, then, from every side we get the idea of silent submission to death as a slain victim, and the bringing in thereby of a plentiful and everlasting provision for all the wants of man; prefiguring exactly what the Gospel sets forth as fulfilled in Jesus Christ, who, "being found in fashion as a man, humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross" (Phil. 2 : 5-8).

But the Cross, and Christ's death by the Cross, mark the limit and farthest boundaries of the humiliation for human redemption. There was nothing lower than that in the history; and the first two Decans of Libra are the southernmost constellations but one in the ancient astronomy. From the moment that Jesus gave up the ghost the price was paid, the whole debt was discharged, and everything gave token of change. The tide there reached its lowest ebb, and turned, thenceforward to flow in ever-augmenting volume from glory to glory."

The Northern Crown - His shameful Cross issues in a glorious Crown

"And so we find it foreshown in these starry pictures. That Southern Cross connects with the Northern Crown. The one is a Cross formed of stars, and the other is equally a Crown formed of stars. The third Decan of Libra is the Corona Borealis, vertical over Jerusalem once in every revolution of the earth."

There are various kinds of crowns. In the scriptures, we notice that there is a kingly and a priestly crown. Christ wears both.

"For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour. Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet." (Psalm 8: 5, 6)

"Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him. But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man." (Heb. 2: 8, 9)

To wear the crown is to rule, to be chief or king, to possess a kingdom. Adam wore a crown the day he was created. He was given dominion, a realm to rule over, and subjects. But, Adam lost his crown, his right to rule. Every sinner has forfeited his crown, all his original rights, by his state of sin and rebellion against God and heaven.

"The crown is fallen from our head: woe unto us, that we have sinned!" (Lam. 5: 16)

The crown has been promised to Christ

"There will I make the horn of David to bud: I have ordained a lamp for mine anointed. His enemies will I clothe with shame: but upon himself shall his crown flourish." (Psa. 132: 17, 18)

"In that day shall the LORD of hosts be for a crown of glory, and for a diadem of beauty, unto the residue of his people, And for a spirit of judgment to him that sitteth in judgment, and for strength to them that turn the battle to the gate." (Isa. 28: 5, 6)

"For Zion's sake will I not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem's sake I will not rest, until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth. And the Gentiles shall see thy righteousness, and all kings thy glory: and thou shalt be called by a new name, which the mouth of the LORD shall name. Thou shalt also be a crown of glory in the hand of the LORD, and a royal diadem in the hand of thy God. Thou shalt no more be termed Forsaken; neither shall thy land any more be termed Desolate: but thou shalt be called Hephzibah, and thy land Beulah: for the LORD delighteth in thee, and thy land shall be married." (Isa. 62: 1-4)

So, as I said, the sign of Libra, and the decan of the northern crown, deal with marriage and partnership, the union of Christ and his bride, the church of the redeemed ones. It does deal with "balance," but not so much an individual's so called "inner balance," or "balance in life," but of that "balancing" of the weight of our sins and the weight of Christ's sacrificial worth.

"And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible." (I Cor. 9: 25)

"Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing." (II Tim. 4: 8)

"And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away." (I Peter 5: 4)

"His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself." (Rev. 19: 12)

"Like sheep they are laid in the grave; death shall feed on them; and the upright shall have dominion over them in the morning; and their beauty shall consume in the grave from their dwelling." (Psa. 49: 14)

"Give the king thy judgments, O God, and thy righteousness unto the king's son. He shall judge thy people with righteousness, and thy poor with judgment. The mountains shall bring peace to the people, and the little hills, by righteousness. He shall judge the poor of the people, he shall save the children of the needy, and shall break in pieces the oppressor. They shall fear thee as long as the sun and moon endure, throughout all generations. He shall come down like rain upon the mown grass: as showers that water the earth. In his days shall the righteous flourish; and abundance of peace so long as the moon endureth. He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth." (Psa. 72: 1-8)

"O LORD our God, other lords beside thee have had dominion over us: but by thee only will we make mention of thy name." (Isa. 26: 13)

"And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed." (Dan. 7: 14)

"And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen." (Rev. 1: 6)

Serpent is seeking the crown (as shown by promimity to the serpent of the next constellation of Scorpio and the decan of serpentarius.

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